Covert Drone War
The use of Predator and Reaper drones (unmanned flying vehicles that are often armed with video-guided missiles) by the US military and CIA is a largely untold story of the "Global War on Terror / Global Contingency Operation" - yet has caused thousands of deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, many of whom are women and children.
For several years, organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, hundreds of people have taken part in non violence civil resistance outside Hancock Air Force Base, near Syracuse, NY. Carrying photos of people killed by U.S. drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, singing, praying, reading victims' names, they have repeatedly attempted to deliver a message to the drone operators to stop; to the base commander to stop; and to the public to refuse to support killing in our names.
Since 2009, when Obama began the targeted killing rampage in Pakistan & Yemen, killing uncounted thousands, World Can't Wait has demanded an end to it. Others have demanded "transparency" in knowing how the targeting decisions were made.
Last month, they got their wish, to a point. Because The New York Times and the ACLU filed a lawsuit to get it, parts of a redacted Office of Legal Counsel memo on targeted killing were released.
1st Hancock Air Base Order of Protection Defendant Facing 1 Year Sentencing July 10th
Syracuse, NY. Drone activist, Mary Anne Grady Flores, is facing 1 year in jail for violating an order of protection. She will be sentenced at 6pm, Thursday, July 10, 2014, by Judge Gideon of De Witt Town Court (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse, New York). The grandmother of 3 had been issued a temporary order of protection for participating in a nonviolent civil resistance action in 2012 at Hancock Air Base. Col. Earl A. Evans, the base’s mission support group commander, was granted the order from local judges, to shut down protests at the base.
Speaking Truth From the Robotic Heavens
Enemies, innocent victims, and soldiers have always made up the three faces of war. With war growing more distant, with drones capable of performing on the battlefield while their “pilots” remain thousands of miles away, two of those faces have, however, faded into the background in recent years.
A group of people who have lost loved ones to US drone strikes in Yemen will next week (Tuesday April 1) launch a national organisation with the aim of supporting affected communities and highlighting the civilian impact of the covert programme.
We already know that ignoring America’s extrajudicial killings of unnamed brown people halfway across the world is uninteresting to most US media outlets. But this month, the establishment press has really outdone itself.
Last May 23, in a major speech on the "war on terror," President Barack Obama claimed he was instituting new, more extensive legal oversight of U.S. drone strikes, and repeated his commitment to "due process." Obama's speech was, in part, a response to the widespread global outrage at his escalation of drone strikes (four times the number conducted by George W. Bush), the tensions that these had created between the U.S. and its allies, as well as what Obama acknowledged were the "constitutional issues" raised by the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki and three other American citizens in drone strikes—in other words, profound issues of legality and legitimacy.
“...the Trespass and Disordered Conduct of those drones are not a defense against terrorism, but rather embody terrorism and may well generate retaliatory terrorism”
Ed Kinane, CLOSING STATEMENT, Charges: trespass & disorderly conduct, Trial of the "Hancock 17," Judge David S. Gideon presiding, De Witt, NY Town Court, 31 January 2014
Good evening Judge Gideon, prosecutor Mc Namara, court staff, our many supporters here, and my fellow defendants.
Obama has launched over 390 covert drone strikes in his first five years in office
Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.